Tutorial: Nursing Sweater with Zippers

I am mother to a beautiful 8.5 month old son named Cillian. To me, one of the greatest joys of motherhood is being able to breastfeed and watch him grow. One of the worst is not being able to find cute nursing friendly clothing.


Sure, black & baggy is a style in and of itself, but I love fun colours, patterns, and unique designs. And after endless searches to find the perfect sweater, I decided to make my own.

This is a step by step tutorial on how to convert any raglan sleeved sweatshirt to be Nursing Friendly using zippers. I like this style best as it is very discreet and the sweater does not scream nursing! You could wear this after you’re finished nursing and nobody would be any wiser as the inseam zippers appear to be a style feature versus a functional feature as we are using them.


  • Raglan Sweatshirt Pattern
  • Knit Fabric (I suggest 95% cotton/5% spandex Cotton Lycra or French Terry) (Amount required is based on your size, the pattern should indicate how much you need, but 2 metres would be enough for most patterns).
  • Two 7″ OR 9″ nylon coil zippers (7″ for sizes XS-M & 9″ for sizes L-XXL)
  • Double sided Wash Away Stay Tape


  1. Cut all required pattern pieces as indicated on your raglan sweater.
Pattern Pieces: Back, Front, Modesty Panel, 2 Collar Pieces, 2 Sleeves, 2 Sleeve Cuffs, & the Hem Band

2. We will need to cut one additional front piece to be used as our modesty panel. Cut it out as follows: Measure 5″ down from the centre front and draw out a line like in the photo below. Cut this piece out from your fabric.

Pattern piece for your Front Modesty Panel. 5″ down from centre front & 1″ down at side seam.

3. Now that you have all your pieces cut out, let’s do some prep! Using your serger (Or overlock stitch on your sewing machine) you will need to finish:

  • Front Piece – Both arm seams & Neck Curve
  • Front Modesty Piece – Both Arm Seams & Bottom Curve
  • Arm Pieces – The arm seam that will attach to the front piece (each arm will only have one side finished at this point).
Modesty Panel – Serged along Bottom & Both Arm Seams

4. Apply Wash away tape along the right side of your arm seam of the front piece (I place mine 1/4″ away from the edge but within the seam allowance)

Wash away stay tape placed along arm seam within the seam allowance.

5. Open your zipper and place it face down on each side of the front panel on top of the wash away tape. Zipper coils face toward the centre. Your zipper will not be the same length as your pattern piece and that is what we want, leave the bottom, underarm portion of your pattern pieces as is for now, we will stitch them together after.

Zipper placed face DOWN on the front piece. Zipper coils face the centre

6. Using your zipper foot, and a straight stitch with a longer length, Stitch your zipper in place. (As you reach the bottom of the zipper, I like to angle the zipper tape back towards the edge so it is easier to hide within the seam later).

7. Repeat steps 4-6 with second zipper.

Needle set to the far right to get close to the zipper edge.

7. Apply Wash away tape along the right side of each sleeve piece seam that joins to the front panel. (Again, I place mine 1/4″ away from the edge but within the seam allowance).

Wash away stay tape placed along the sleeve edge

8. With your Sleeve Piece Right side up, place your Front piece right sides together on top of your sleeve piece. This makes it easier to stick the other side of your zipper to your pattern piece properly and without twisting.

9. Stitch your zipper to your sleeve piece.

10. Repeat steps 8-10 with your second zipper

11. Now it is time to finish the remaining section of your seam below the zipper. With right sides facing, match your seams below the zipper stop. Stitch a straight stitch from the side seam and stop when you reach the zipper stop. Remember to keep the bottom of your zipper tape hidden within your seam allowance so none shows on the outside (This is why in step 6 I recommended turning the bottom of your zipper towards the edge). Repeat for other side.

Pointing to the bottom section below your zipper which needs to be sewn together.

12. Fold the top of your Front Piece over to the inside, wrapping the zipper tape, and with a long straight stitch, stitch it down. The edges will be bulky so go slow and use your hump jumper to help you navigate over

Front Piece Top edge. Fold over your serged edge and stitch down in place with a long straight stitch for a clean finish.

13. With your 3 pattern pieces laid out face down, with zippers zipped, place your modesty panel piece face down on top of your front piece. (The modesty panel will have the right side facing the front piece wrong side).

14. Apply wash away tape along the outside zipper edge of each sleeve piece.

Front and Side pieces faced down. Modesty panel faced down.
Stay tape placed along the outer edge (sleeve side) of the zipper coil.

15. Line up your Modesty panel & Sleeve Pieces and press each side of your modesty panel into the wash away tape you just applied. Your zippers will be completely hidden by your modesty panel.

Modesty pane placed on top of the stay tape. Zippers are completed covered.

16. Stitch your zipper to your modesty panel. You will be stitching over a seam you have already stitched down and it will be sandwiched as Sleeve Piece, Zipper, Modesty Panel. Repeat for other side.

17. Top stitch around your zipper. Be sure to UNZIP your zippers and be careful not to stitch your Modesty Panel to your Front Piece.

Top Stitching around Zipper using a long straight stitch. Be sure to move your Modesty panel out of the way when top stitching zipper to your front Piece.

18. Attach the hood/collar. Open your zippers and attach it to your front modesty panel only.

Attach your Collar/Hood to your Modesty panel only. Leave your Front panel free.

19. Sew your side & sleeves. Attach your sleeve cuffs & hem band.

20. Now enjoy your new Nursing Sweater!

Double Zipper Nursing Sweater Completed!

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Glad you asked that: How do I make my garments look more professional; more unique?

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I have the pleasure of introducing a new Janome Canada artisan to you: Meagan Botterill of  “Made by Meag”. 

Meag *loves* fabric………the beauty, excitement, and potential locked away in each bolt and swatch. Luckily for all of you, she’s found a way to turn that love of pretty and fun prints into handbags, wallets, pouches, and so much more… which of course lets her buy more amazing fabric.

She works in a variety of styles with countless amazing prints and bag findings and is a regular fixture at Toronto Comicon, FanExpo Canada in Toronto, as well as a variety of other shows.

Her appeal stretches from here in Canada to Australia, so there’s no telling where you might see a ‘Meag Bag’ in the world. When she’s not sewing pretty things for you and your friends, Meag also teaches bag-making classes at her Workshop Studio in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Made by Meag started in October 2015  and has been featured in The Walleye – Thunder Bay’s Arts and Culture Magazine . She has also been voted in the top 3 of The Walleye’s Best of Thunder Bay 3 years running.

Meagan has featured multiple times on CBC  and her  project bags can be found in a variety of Yarn Shops in Ontario.  She has been a feature presenter for the Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s speaker series “Insight 20/20”

We are looking forward to working with Meag and featuring some of her creations and hints and tips for bag making here on janomelife. Watch for Meag’s janomelife posts!

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Show and Tell inspires us to try similar techniques or project ideas

I was attending an event at Langley Vacuum and Sewing and we were having a show and tell session. There are so many talented people out there. A lot of people doing projects for gifts and charity work. I love seeing how people use their skills to give back to their communities.

What do you do when you can’t find that perfect fabric to go with the project you are working on? Well, make it yourself. These talented women created the perfect fabric with thread.

For this quilt, Colleen Broderick wanted a colourful fabric, but didn’t want something overly busy to distract from the co-ordinating fabric. The variegated thread is a fantastic choice. It pulls all the colours from the fabric, adds the right amount of colour, and compliments the main fabric but isn’t overbearing.

A basic stipple stitch looks great. Collen embroidered her own multi – colour embellished fabric with Acufil stippling and then cut it up for her piecing. Wasn’t that clever? 

In this one Stephanie Bloomfield wanted a very subtle embellishment to a beautiful fabric. She added decorative stitches which are stitched out in the hoop. She then cut up her fabric to complete her piecing in a similar way. Did you know you could do that? 

Check out this post where a Janome America educator used embroidery to embellish fabric which she then cut up for her piecing. 

Two completely different designs. The same design stitched in diagonal corners. These decorative stitches don’t take away from the embroidered flower which is the focal point of the pillow.

Thank you to both Colleen and Stephanie for sharing these fantastic ideas. So many possibilities to create amazing projects. Happy stitching.

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The Janome AcuSketch app is the perfect tool to draw and embroider a fish…….or anything else you fancy. 


Fish drawn on the AcuSketch screen. 

Adding details to the fish. The triple straight stitch was selected for the stitch type – bottom left of  the screen. 

For the last step, you need to transfer the design using either WIFI or USB stick depending on which Janome embroidery machine you have. If you have the Janome MC 15000 or Janome Skyline S9, the AcuSketch design can be transferred wirelessly and directly to these embroidery machines.  If you have another Janome Embroidery machine model, you may email the design directly out of the AcuSketch app to your email account on your computer where you may save it to your USB stick. Then simply pop the USB stick into your Jnaome embroidery machine and open the file – fish as here or whatever you have sketched and digitized instanteously in AcuSketch. 

The fish was embroidered on a slightly thick, fibrous paper but could also be stitched on fabric and other materials. 

Or you  can choose an embroidery design and mix & match with AcuSketch digitized drawings.  For example: 

This is a design included with the Janome MBX digitizer Software – # CS040-SZ.

Have fun drawing fish, embroidering them to use on cards, home decor, gifts and more. You could also introduce a fun activity for kids to draw their own fish on our  Janome iPad  App and then embroider at the Janome embroidery machine. Check out our blog post with just this very thing – an eight year old drawing a fish with AcuSketch and then embroidering this  on a pillow. 

Originally published on Vie Janome by Céline Ross.

Translated and edited by Anne-Margaret and Liz  

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Create an Ornament with the Circular Sewing Attachment on the Janome MC9450


The Circular Sewing Attachment is an optional accessory that you can get for the Janome MC9450 and there are so many uses for it.

Circular Sewing Attachment 9450 YT

I decided to use it to create a cute – and quick – ornament to showcase one of the many (too many!) decorative buttons that I have. For this particular project, I used a variegated thread, which gave additional interest to the ornament.

Circular Sewing Attachment 9450 - 5

To create your own ornament, you’ll need:

Fabric for the top

Batting (I like to use a 100% cotton batting)

Tearaway fabric stabilizer

Backing fabric

Hanging ribbon or trim

Thread in your choice of colour

Janome MC9450 and screwdriver that came with it

Circular Sewing Attachment

Circular Sewing Attachment 9450 - 4

Note: Remote control not necessary for this project, only for the filming of it 😉

The Circular Sewing Attachment has a set screw with it and you will need the screwdriver that came with your Janome MC9450 to fasten it to the machine bed. Be sure it is tightly fastened so it would wiggle loose as you stitch.

I like to have bigger pieces of fabric for the top and backing than what the cut size of the project will be. In this case, the cut size will be 5” (4½” finished), so I used larger pieces of fabric than this. It’s easier to trim everything up after the stitching is done.

I chose 3 decorative stitches for my ornament and adjusted the length and width of them to my liking. I always use a scrap quilt sandwich to practice my decorative stitches and adjust the thread tension, if necessary.

I started with the smallest circle possible with the Circular Sewing Attachment and then stitched 2 additional circles larger than this first one. To adjust the size of your circles, unlock the locking mechanism on the Circular Sewing Attachment and move it to the desired size. You’ll note that the accessory has inches and centimetre markings on it so you can choose exactly the size you would like your circle to be.

Circular Sewing Attachment 9450 - 3

Top done and ready for the backing and hanging loop. the button isn’t yet fastened to the ornament.

Once I finished stitching all of the circles, I tore away the fabric stabilizer and was then ready to attach a piece of ribbon or trim for a hanging loop and, using the pillowcase method, I added the backing to the ornament. I used glue – don’t tell the quilt police! – to close the side opening – no hand stitching on this project at all!

There was one last thing to add and that was the decorative button that I wanted to stitch to the centre of the ornament. Lucky for me, the Janome MC9450 has a Button sewing feature that allowed me to sew the button on using the machine. Look ma, no hands (hand stitching, that is!).

Ornament Final - 1

It was quick and fun to stitch up this cute ornament on the Janome MC9450 and I loved that I was able to use one of my favourite buttons in it. I have so many buttons and never quite know what to do with them and this project was a perfect way to display one of them. While I used just one button, you could certainly add a cluster of buttons in the centre if you wished to do so. It’s also a great project in which to play with variegated thread. Definitely lots of options in creating this ornament on the Janome MC9450.

Circular Sewing Attachment 9450 - 1

For more information on attaching the Circular Sewing Attachment to the Janome MC9450 and to see how I created this ornament, click on the image below.

Circ. Sewing Attachment 9450Note: The Circular Sewing Attachment that fits the Janome MC9450 is part number 202135007.

Happy stitching from Kim Jamieson-Hirst, Janome Canada Artisan in Calgary, Alberta.

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I was most fortunate to be able to attend a hands-on class with quilt artist and teacher, Gloria Loughman from Australia in 2018. I already owned 3 of her books, had attended a lecture she presented at a local Quilt Guild and was super keen to experience her teaching first hand. I signed up for her Radiant Landscapes class where she teaches her unique tiled background technique which forms the back drop for beautiful landscapes. Please refer to Gloria’s website and her books for more information about her quilting art and techniques. I chose to do an African sunset with Acacia thorn tree silhouette and my favorite elephants.

Today I want to share my enthusiasm about Gloria’s tile technique  – I ended up cutting  even more fabric and assembling another backdrop in shades of yellow and orange.

Instead of this becoming another landscape wall hanging ( with oddly upside-down flowers?) , I decided to make a practical tote bag ( you can never have too many of these, right?). The shades of yellow and orange made me feel happy so I have called this my “happy” bag. Flowers also make me smile, so what a perfect addition to my happy tiled backdrop?! The flowers were fussy cut from fabric in my stash after I had fused fusible web onto the reverse side of my floral fabric. After positioning the flowers on both sides of my tote bag, I was sure this would be just the project to banish winter and welcome in Spring and summer of 2019!

Using the fabulous new Janome HP2 foot which combines the incredible straight stitching of the HP foot and needle plate with the proven benefits of the Janome Acufeed Flex foot. Here I am adding jelly roll strips to my tiled background with a quilt- as- you – go technique. The HP2 foot gives me the advantage of perfect 1/4 piecing with feeding multiple fabric layers at the same time.

Here is how this project made it from Gloria’s class to toting stuff around:

Next up was to fuse my fussy cut flowers to both sides of my bag and then zig-zag with 2 different variegated cotton threads around the roses. I adjusted the zig zag stitch as I did not want a tight satin stitch – just a small zig zag to secure the edges of my roses. I used the Janome appliqué foot AP, invisible appliqué stitch and invisible thread for the 2 buds.

And the other side of the bag. Don’t flowers make you smile – but especially after a long and snowy winter? After fusing, I appliquéd the flowers using a variety of appliqué stitches, threads, and Janome feet.  In this pic, I used variegated cotton thread, the blanket/appliqué stitch and the Janome F2 open toe foot so that I could see exactly where I was sewing to position my stitches along the edges of my flowers.

Next up was to trim the bag and sew the side seams. I chose to straight stitch using the Janome Acufeed Flex HP2 foot first and then neaten with yellow thread on my Janome serger. I also sewed the “box” shape for the bottom of my bag and neatened that edge with my serger as well. See pic below.


The handles were next: I sewed 2 jelly roll strips together along the long edges. I pressed the seam to one side and then pressed a 1/4 seam under along one long edge – to the wrong side. Long skinny strips of batting scraps where laid down the strip , the edges folded in with the pressed fold over 1/4 inch on top. Stitch through all layers with appropriate thread colored thread in both needle and bobbin ( you will see the bobbin thread!)I used my favorite serpentine stitch. Press. Tip: to reduce bulk on the ends of the straps where you will turn under the raw edge and sew to the bag, leave approx 1/4 inch on the ends without the batting.

Use a jelly roll or other strip of fabric for the binding for the top edge of the bag. Fold in half & press. Attach to the wrong or inside of the bag, sew in place checking first the width of the seam. It should cover your stitching when flipped over to the right side or outside of the bag. Sew as you would for a binding on a quilt and join the ends of the binding with your favorite method.

I like to use Clover clips for holding my binding in place while I stitch it down. I chose in this case to use a decorative stitch – the star or daisy stitch. See below.

Now attach the straps or handles to both sides of the bag. Measure and pin in position so that the straps are evenly spaced. I stitched a square and diagonals to secure well.

Lastly, I added a button hole and button to the centre top of my tote. I like to secure the opening in a simple, easy to use way to prevent my stuff falling out or the bag gaping open. Both the button hole and button were sewed on my Janome sewing machine using the buttonhole foot R and button sewing foot T.

And the other side of the bag…….now what shall I put into my tote and where shall I go?? I think I may add a bit of quilting to the top section above my tiling and have already added a decorative button since taking the photo – just to cover the stitching for the button which came through all the layers.

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After having children, I decided to leave my career in IT to be a stay at home mom but I quickly realized I needed some type of work to keep myself occupied!

I started out sewing children’s clothing, but I switched to bags after finding a free tutorial online. I loved the challenge and the variety that bag making offered. It was very different to sewing clothing. At first, I started making bags to sell on Etsy but after a while I realized I wasn’t interested in production style sewing. One day (after sewing many, many bags) I decided to design and sell my own pattern. To my surprise, the pattern started selling and I was getting a lot of positive feedback. I haven’t looked back since.

Since 2013, I have been a full-time pattern designer working out of my home studio in Toronto, Ontario. I’ve had the opportunity to be one of the featured pattern designers for the “Bag of the Month Club” in 2017 and 2018. I’ve also taught workshops in the U.S. and Canada and hosted my own sewing retreats in Toronto.  I enjoy getting out to work with people face to face. There’s such a great community of bag makers out there and it’s a treat to get to meet some of them in person. Most recently, I have partnered with Alicia Miller of Swoon Patterns to create a six-month pattern subscription called “The Carried Away Pattern Collective” https://carriedawaypatterns.com.

Throughout it all I have always been a huge Janome fan. I worked with a Janome Sewist 625e for 5-6 years and now I’m excited to start working with the Janome HD9 to see what it can do!

You can find all of my sewing patterns on my website at http://bluecallapatterns.com. You can also follow me on Instagram @bluecallapatterns. If you’re sewing any of my patterns I have a great pattern support group on Facebook.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/bluecallapatterns

We greatly look forward to what Celine is going to share with us on janomelife……bag making on the Janome HD9 and Janome 625E!  Stay tuned………Ed

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Quilting with your Domestic Machine Part 5: Binding with the Quilt Binder


It’s so big that my husband and my dad had to stand on chairs to hold it up!!

It’s done. I can’t believe that it’s finally finished!!! I have so enjoyed this project and sharing all these tips and tricks along the way with you. ( please refer to parts 1-4 of this series right here on Janomelife. There are links to these at the bottom of this posts).

I finished up today by putting the binding on my massively large oversize queen quilt. I found the same set up very helpful: cleared away space on the table so that my sewing table can support it. At this stage in the quilting game, you can leave your quilt stacked on top of itself during the binding process because you only need access to the very edge.

IMG_1794Using the Janome Quilt Binder has some amazing benefits:  less fabric used (only 2″ strips instead of 2.5 “); less time spent (only sewing the edge once instead of twice, plus all the time spent pressing and folding over your binding), and the ability to have a perfect binding every time.  I also used the Tape Stand to hold my rolled up binding strip. This was so helpful to avoid choking myself on a necklace of binding. (I know you’re laughing at this visual, but we’ve all done it haha).


For detailed info on how to install your Quilt Binder to your machine, click here. What I love about this attachment is how adjustable it is to suit your individual preferences. It’s easily adjusted with the location of the mouth of the binder, and also the angle that it’s placed at.


A few other tips that I found were very helpful were joining my strips at a 45 degree angle, and then trimming down the excess to a 1/4″ seam. Don’t forget to take those dog ears off too! Having as consistent and smooth a width as possible makes the strips feed through the binder much easier. I also found leaving my seams unpressed helped them to feed through smoothly to one side.


Make sure you put your fabric strip with the WRONG side facing you, so that as they pass through the mouth of the binder they are right side out.


Don’t worry about the thickness of the quilt and it possibly getting stuck. I had no problems with this at all! The foot for this attachment has a shorter toe, so it is easy to maneuver your binding underneath it. There are tons of other fabulous posts on this Janomelife blog about using the Quilt Binder, so make sure to check them out by doing a search in the search box to the right on the home page – just type Quilt binder in this search box.


I also really appreciated the indented line on the foot, showing optimal placement of your needle for stitching. This spot, about 2.5, was perfect for having enough seam allowance and also stitching close to the folded edge. If you want to use a decorative stitch for sewing your binding down, you can definitely do so. In fact, you could mirror your chosen stitch to have the base of the stitch line up with the foot indent.

It took about an hour to do the binding from start to finish: cutting the strips, joining them, setting up the machine and stitching the binding. In my opinion, it was much, much faster that the traditional method of attaching binding (plus no need to poke my finger sewing it on by hand!)

I really hope you have enjoyed this series on Quilting your Large Quilts on a Domestic Sewing Machine. I had lots of fun showing you all different techniques.


To find the previous posts: Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Until next time,


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The countdown has begun! Quilt Canada 2019 in our very special capital city of Canada, Ottawa, is just over a month away WOO -HOO!  I, for one, am super pumped and excited as I have never been to Ottawa before and I get to go this year!! I can’t wait. I am thoroughly looking forward to meeting up with quilting friends at this annual premier quilting event in Canada. Check out the Quilt Canada website for all the information on this big event. 

Janome will be there….. Elna will be there as well AND we have a suprize addition …….Madeira threads will have its own booth. Janome Canada is now the proud distributor of Madeira threads and we will have these at Quilt Canada for you to see, ask us questions……and, of course, buy if you wish!

We can’t wait to find out who will win Best of Show – a prize sponsored by Janome Canada so it is very close to our hearts. We will also avidly look at all the other quilts as SO many are worthy of recognition just for being accepted into the NJS. And there are also other concurrent quilt shows to entertain and inspire us.

Oh goodness me……can I manage to contain my excitement for another month?!


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